Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry – Group Video

Video

A group of former inmates met to share their respective testimonies.

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Aside

March, 2014

Image

Special Meeting – PIM’s Steering Committee held a special meeting on March 8th, at the the First Baptist Church in Fall River, MA. Six former inmates united with three members of the Steering Committee. This meeting was called to record a video with the testimony of each person who spent time in prison. It was also an opportunity for members of the Steering Committee to meet some of the people they have helped through their work as administrative committee.

Representing PIM were the Rev. John Webster, Elder Penny Webster and Elder Roland Chase, whose appreciation of attendance is registered below. My wife Sandra Annunciacao was also present, who helped provide refreshments, and the Deacon Rick Koconis, whose videography skills have been a tremendous support in recording the testimonies and editing videos. Each of the former inmates was eager to share their respective experiences. No one abided to the allotted five minutes we gave them. All of them wanted to share how God strengthened them when in prison and how much their lives were changed and blessed. One of the former inmates highlighted the strong sense of community he experienced among other prisoners, which he does not find at the churches he visits. Another one spoke about the sense of unity among the Christian inmates, no matter their previous religious background. All of them rejoiced over the many good changes God made in their lives, emphasizing the importance of the bible studies in prisons. 

A former inmate’s wife and little daughter attended, as well as the wife of a Brazilian man who is still imprisoned. One of the former inmates knew her husband in the Bristol County Prison bible study, and invited her to participate. She was comforted by the words she heard from the wife of the former inmate who shared with her how much strength she found in God to face those almost 13 months that her husband was in prison.

At the picture above (left to right): 1- Rodrigo (From Guatemala –  holding his 18-month old daughter; 2 – Sandra Annunciacao; 3 – Gerson Annunciacao; 4 – Branca (from Portugal, she is married to a Brazilian man who still is in prison); 5 – John Webster – co-chair of PIM steering committee; 6 – André (Brazilian); 7 – Juan Pablo (From Ecuador, spent 14 months in prison).

Front row: 8 – Wilson (From Brazil, he spent less than 3 months in prison); 9 – Isidro Junior (From Guatemala); 10 – Victor (From Tajikistan); 11 – Penny Webster – member of PIM steering committee; 12 – Rosa (From Honduras, she is married to Rodrigo)

Roland Chase – Newspapers and TV don´t have much good to say about the “aliens and strangers” in our midst, but listening to them in person is an eye-opening, heart-tugging experience.  With John and Penny Webster of the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry steering committee, I attended a gathering in Fall River of about six “alumni” of southeastern Massachusetts prisons. The purpose was to film the testimonies of these former prisoners for a promotional video, but I was personally moved and inspired by hearing what they had to say.  I heard a lot about God´s grace in their lives and how much they appreciated Gerson´s pastoral ministry among them.  To me, this was a living sermon about the great things God is doing in prisons today through PIM.

Donations received:

– Henry Ruppenthal

– Rosemarie Smith

– IPI do Brasil

– First Presbyterian Church – Stamford, CT

– Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana Hispana – Boston, MA

– Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston

– Calvary Presbyterian Church – Enfield, CT

– Greenwood Community Church – Warwick, RI

– First Presbyterian Church – San Mateo, CA

 ATENCION, THE PRESBYTERY CHANGED ITS MAIL ADDRESS:

Send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England – P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry.

 March Attendance

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

05

Boston

31

06

Plymouth

49

07

Bristol

22

12

Boston

25

13

Plymouth

38

14

Bristol

16

19

Boston

27

20

Plymouth

27

21

Bristol

14

26

Boston

30

27

Plymouth

35

28

Bristol

15

 Paying Back – Last Saturday I received a call from Romildo, a Brazilian man who spent a few months at the prison in Boston. He was released during the last Christmas Eve. He called me to tell me he is contacting some community leaders where he lives to provide support for immigrants in prison. He said that when he was imprisoned, many inmates did not have the financial support from outsiders to buy food in the cantina or to make a phone call. Romildo’s idea is to create a fund to provide assistance to the inmates. Among those who he has already contacted is a Brazilian Catholic Priest who promised to join the effort. According to Romildo’s own words, this is a way to pay back what was done for him.

 

Aside

May, 2014

Image

Donations – In the beginning of May, a Social Service Worker at the prison in Boston asked me for a Portuguese Bible with large letters. A Brazilian inmate had asked her because he cannot read small print usually used on most bibles. As I searched, I received a package with different kinds of bibles, including one with large print. Ms. Linnis Cook sent the donation; she and her late husband, the Rev. Archibald Woodroff, were missionaries in Brazil for several years. They blessed the IPIB (Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil) serving with passion and love. I remember when I taught Mission Theology at the IPIB Seminary in São Paulo. When I arrived for my first class, Archibald was there, and welcomed me by giving me a Spanish edition of John Calvin’s Institutes. Now Linnis and Archibald blessed me again with this donation. Linnis had sent me an email saying she had bibles available. Here is what she wrote:

Dear Reverend: My late husband, Archibald Woodruff left several Bibles that I would like to donate to your work, if you could use them in your admirable job.

Thoughtful notes and donations like these help me persevere in my ministry, knowing that God provides everything that is needed through passionate servants who understand the real meaning of the Kingdom of God.

Video Contest – As we shared in our previous edition, PIM entered a video contest launched by the 1001 New Worshiping Communities. Many videos were presented though ours was not selected as a finalist at the coming PCUSA General Assembly. Regardless, it was a rich experience to share some of PIM’s ministry, and to also see how God’s people can use creativity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you didn’t get a chance to watch our videos, below are the two links for each:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT5GAaLeCwAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu8_NU-DmiA

Donations received:

– Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana Hispana de Boston, MA

– IPI do Brasil

– Edward and Wanda Castner

– Henry Ruppenthal

– First Presbyterian Church – Newport, RI

– First Presbyterian Church – Stamford, CT

– Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston

– Greenwood Community Church – Warwick, RI

– Bethel Presbyterian Church – Marlborough, MA

 ATTENTION! THE PRESBYTERY CHANGED ITS MAILING ADDRESS:

Send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England – P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry.

 May Attendance – Sometimes I see a decreasing number of immigrants in prison but, in the following weeks, the number usually increases again. In the last week of May, 137 persons attended the bible studies. I believe it was the highest attendance since I started visiting prisons in 2005. Please, keep me in your prayers and pray also in favor of those who are in jail.

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

01

Plymouth

35

02

Bristol

11

07

Boston

31

08

Plymouth

48

09

Bristol

17

14

Boston

43

15

Plymouth

53

16

Bristol

23

21

Boston

46

22

Plymouth

45

23

Bristol

18

28

Boston

35

29

Plymouth

42

30

Bristol

60

 

Project Second Mile – Most of the detainees who used to attend our bible studies are deported after a while in prison. However, some are allowed to stay in the USA and they usually need help to re-start their post-jail lives. PIM has been looking for ways to follow up with them after they leave prison. Last March, PIM called a meeting when six released inmates came together to have their testimonies recorded for a video. All of them asked us to do this again. We believe this is a way we can continue helping their spiritual and personal development, nurturing in faith those who became Christians in prison. This is what we call Project Second Mile.

Why Second Mile?

 The idea for this name came from a letter we received some years ago when a prisoner wrote that PIM was doing for them what others were not doing. According to Matthew 5:40-42 Jesus said: “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” We weren’t forced to walk with them the first mile when they were in prison. We are doing that because we understood it to be our calling. However, walking only the first mile is not enough and they need us to continue walking with them further.

 The Project Second Mile will be developed in two ways:

  1. The Rev. Gerson or Ms. Kátia will visit those who left prison and are living in New England. In these visits, the emphasis will be upon getting to know them and their families better, nurture them spiritually and emotionally as they try to reorient their lives in the ‘outside world,’ and help them connect  (or reconnect) with local churches.  These visits will mean driving extra miles and grant money will be placed to cover the extra travel expense involved.
  2. We will hold periodic meetings or retreats when as many former detainees as possible can come together to share their testimonies, receive spiritual encouragement, strengthen community, and discover ways in which they can help PIM in its ministry.  These meetings will be held in central locations where released detainees are clustered. This may well mean that there could be more than one such group meeting periodically as the project moves forward. 

 We also believe this can be an opportunity for Congregations that want to get more involved with PIM, because they can hold a meeting at their respective facilities. There is a Congregation that is analyzing a grant proposal, which if approved, will help us start this new PIM project.

Aside

April, 2014

The 1001 New Worshiping Communities is a project created by the Presbyterian Church (USA) to incentivize and to help its membership find alternative and creative ways to carry out their mission. According to statistics, there is a sizeable group who do not fit within the traditional church paradigm. The goal is to search for new forms of church that align with the essence of the Gospel and, in 10 years, to have 1001 New Worshiping Communities around the USA. The biblical foundation is on Luke 10:2: Jesus said: “The harvest is plentiful, the laborers are few; ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest field.” The definition of the New Worshiping Community is:

 New

  • disciples of Jesus Christ, and
  • new forms of church for a changing culture.

Worshiping

  • in gathering by the Spirit to meet Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament, and
  • worshiping by the Spirit to join God’s mission for the transformation of the world.

Community

  • practicing mutual care and accountability, and
  • developing sustainability in leadership and finances. In order to help those interested in developing a community that fits this mission, the PCUSA is prepared to give financially under certain criteria and offer other kinds of support. Many NWC are already working and you can learn about them at: The Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry is one of the many NWC already in development. We have received substantial support from 1001 NWC and we believe that this project is already reaching its main goal: to make disciples of all nations, change Lives, and transform the Church/World.https://www.facebook.com/1001NWC/app_599788450050788

The 1001 NWC launched a video contest, in which PIM is participating with two videos. The winners will receive a financial prize to be used for the ministry. You can vote to choose the winners. We appreciate if you cast your vote for us. Just go to the following website and look for our videos: “Testimonies of Grace and Faith” and “I was in prison and you came to me”:

 We recommend you spend some time watching other videos as well. You will be amazed by the things God’s people are doing. However, most important than votes, we need your prayers for each one of those New Worshiping Communities.

Donations received:

– Henry Ruppenthal

– IPI do Brasil

– First Presbyterian Church – Stamford, CT

– Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston

– Dr. & Mrs. Robert Veon – in memory of Rev. David Hare

– Providence Presbyterian Church              

– First Presbyterian Church of Stamford   

ATENCION, THE PRESBYTERY CHANGED ITS MAIL ADDRESS:

Send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England – P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry.

April Attendance

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

02

Boston

39

03

Plymouth

35

04

Bristol

15

09

Boston

22

10

Plymouth

28

11

Bristol

19

16

Boston

19

17

Plymouth

24

18

Bristol

18

24

Plymouth

25

25

Bristol

20

30

Boston

29

 Kátia’s Report

I am growing each day in that journey that God has leaded me in.  I am really thankful that he has allowed me to be part of this wonderful ministry. Each time that I leave my home to go and visit my sisters at Suffolk or Barnstable, I praise the Lord because he is good. I thank the good Lord for all he has done. God has worked in an extraordinary way in these women’s lives. Along with another sister, this past February we had an all week bible study at Barnstable jail.  I may have a sister that will start going with me to Suffolk. At Suffolk the studies have been administered every two weeks.  For only the first three weeks in January it was consecutive, but since then it has been held every two weeks.  I would like to share a little of what has happened at Suffolk county jail. We’re studying Ecclesiastes 3, ​​”A The time for all things”.  This last week was very special.  We were already beginning the bible study when two young girls came in; they seemed very agitated.  Then the official asked me if I would be comfortable with them in the class, I said yes. We were meditating on those necessary endings in our lives. I stated that God loves them no matter what, that he also had a perfect time for everything, and that been the moment he had prepared for them to be where they were. They weren’t at the study just because they wanted to be, but because God wants them there. One of them asked me if I really believed what I was saying. I shared with her my personal experience with the Lord; then she began to open up to listening to the Bible. This day God worked in such a way that by the end of the study all of them were calm, with tears in their eyes, totally broken for the glory of the Lord. For our next study we will be discussing “time to break down, time to build up”.

Received Letter

A few days ago I received a letter from a Brazilian inmate. He was in a detention center close to his house and his wife used to visit him everyday. She was able to see him after a short 10-minute car ride. They have been married for more than 10 years. He was transferred to another prison, two and a half hours away from his house and his wife can no longer visit him everyday. I drove to the State of New Hampshire to visit him and he complains about his situation. He still talks with his wife every day through a phone call, which ends up costing around $5.00 per call. On his letter he thanked me for visiting him and also told how much he is missing the bible studies. He said that in God he found the strength to continue fighting his case but asked to pray for him, asking God to give him a definitive answer for his case. He also asked me about the history and doctrines of the Presbyterian Church, because he is inclined to attend a Presbyterian congregation, here in the USA or in Brazil, when he leaves prison. He finalized his letter asking me to greet those inmates from his previous prison, people who became his brothers in Christ.  

Aside

March, 2014

Image

Special Meeting – PIM’s Steering Committee held a special meeting on March 8th, at the the First Baptist Church in Fall River, MA. Six former inmates united with three members of the Steering Committee. This meeting was called to record a video with the testimony of each person who spent time in prison. It was also an opportunity for members of the Steering Committee to meet some of the people they have helped through their work as administrative committee.

Representing PIM were the Rev. John Webster, Elder Penny Webster and Elder Roland Chase, whose appreciation of attendance is registered below. My wife Sandra Annunciacao was also present, who helped provide refreshments, and the Deacon Rick Koconis, whose videography skills have been a tremendous support in recording the testimonies and editing videos. Each of the former inmates was eager to share their respective experiences. No one abided to the allotted five minutes we gave them. All of them wanted to share how God strengthened them when in prison and how much their lives were changed and blessed. One of the former inmates highlighted the strong sense of community he experienced among other prisoners, which he does not find at the churches he visits. Another one spoke about the sense of unity among the Christian inmates, no matter their previous religious background. All of them rejoiced over the many good changes God made in their lives, emphasizing the importance of the bible studies in prisons. 

A former inmate’s wife and little daughter attended, as well as the wife of a Brazilian man who is still imprisoned. One of the former inmates knew her husband in the Bristol County Prison bible study, and invited her to participate. She was comforted by the words she heard from the wife of the former inmate who shared with her how much strength she found in God to face those almost 13 months that her husband was in prison.

At the picture above (left to right): 1- Rodrigo (From Guatemala –  holding his 18-month old daughter; 2 – Sandra Annunciacao; 3 – Gerson Annunciacao; 4 – Branca (from Portugal, she is married to a Brazilian man who still is in prison); 5 – John Webster – co-chair of PIM steering committee; 6 – André (Brazilian); 7 – Juan Pablo (From Ecuador, spent 14 months in prison).

Front row: 8 – Wilson (From Brazil, he spent less than 3 months in prison); 9 – Isidro Junior (From Guatemala); 10 – Victor (From Tajikistan); 11 – Penny Webster – member of PIM steering committee; 12 – Rosa (From Honduras, she is married to Rodrigo)

Roland Chase – Newspapers and TV don´t have much good to say about the “aliens and strangers” in our midst, but listening to them in person is an eye-opening, heart-tugging experience.  With John and Penny Webster of the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry steering committee, I attended a gathering in Fall River of about six “alumni” of southeastern Massachusetts prisons. The purpose was to film the testimonies of these former prisoners for a promotional video, but I was personally moved and inspired by hearing what they had to say.  I heard a lot about God´s grace in their lives and how much they appreciated Gerson´s pastoral ministry among them.  To me, this was a living sermon about the great things God is doing in prisons today through PIM.

Donations received:

– Henry Ruppenthal

– Rosemarie Smith

– IPI do Brasil

– First Presbyterian Church – Stamford, CT

– Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana Hispana – Boston, MA

– Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston

– Calvary Presbyterian Church – Enfield, CT

– Greenwood Community Church – Warwick, RI

– First Presbyterian Church – San Mateo, CA

 ATENCION, THE PRESBYTERY CHANGED ITS MAIL ADDRESS:

Send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England – P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry.

 March Attendance

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

05

Boston

31

06

Plymouth

49

07

Bristol

22

12

Boston

25

13

Plymouth

38

14

Bristol

16

19

Boston

27

20

Plymouth

27

21

Bristol

14

26

Boston

30

27

Plymouth

35

28

Bristol

15

 Paying Back – Last Saturday I received a call from Romildo, a Brazilian man who spent a few months at the prison in Boston. He was released during the last Christmas Eve. He called me to tell me he is contacting some community leaders where he lives to provide support for immigrants in prison. He said that when he was imprisoned, many inmates did not have the financial support from outsiders to buy food in the cantina or to make a phone call. Romildo’s idea is to create a fund to provide assistance to the inmates. Among those who he has already contacted is a Brazilian Catholic Priest who promised to join the effort. According to Romildo’s own words, this is a way to pay back what was done for him.

 

Aside

February, 2014

Image

Communion – Last Thursday I had the great joy to celebrate the Eucharist for the first time among 22 prisoners at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility. I thank chaplains Daniel Croce and Rick Chamberlain for providing everything I needed to administer the communion. I prepared a special liturgy for this Holy Sacrament, with bible texts, prayers and Spanish songs, including an original song by one of the inmates titled “Yo Tengo Gozo”, or “I Rejoice” in English. The main message of this song is, “I rejoice because Christ lives in me”. The inmates sang it enthusiastically.

As part of the Communion liturgy there was a time when those who wanted, could express their own reasons for their joy. Among those who did it, two inmates’ words were very powerful to me. One said he is grateful to God for bringing him to prison, because in that place he is experiencing deep changes in his life. Another one said he was giving thanks to God because, after a couple of years in prison, he was having the opportunity to be part of The Lord’s Supper again.

Those who attended returned to their cells with joyful heart. At the end, they spontaneously started to salute one another with the Peace of Christ. My intention is to celebrate the Communion every month.

A Very Welcomed Help – After the presentation of a video at the Presbytery meeting, Mr. Rick Koconis, a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Newport, offered his professional services to help PIM produce videos. This coming March 8th, we will hold a special meeting with eight former inmates and some members of PIM’s Steering Committee. Rick will record testimonies and images to produce a video, which we will enter into a contest hosted by the Presbyterian Church (USA).

 Donations received:

– H. Anderson & Brenda Burgess

– Henry Ruppenthal

– Rosemarie Smith

– Dana Lindsley

– IPI do Brasil

– Synod of Northeastern – NEPPG Grant

– First Presbyterian Church – Newport, RI

– First Presbyterian Church – Stamford, CT

– Bethel Presbyterian Church – Marlborough, MA

– Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston

 ATENCION, THE PRESBYTERY CHANGED ITS MAIL ADDRESS:

Send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England – P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry.

 February Attendance

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

05

Boston

Winter storm

06

Plymouth

50

07

Bristol

24

12

Boston

20

13

Plymouth

14

14

Bristol

28

19

Boston

20

20

Plymouth

45

21

Bristol

24

26

Boston

12

27

Plymouth

51

31

Bristol

25

 Pursuing Baptism – Some time ago I wrote about a Brazilian man who became a follower of Jesus while in prison. We were making arrangements to baptize him in the Boston prison at his request. Just as we were nearly ready, he was transferred to the prison in Plymouth, where we continue to strive for his baptism. He took the initiative to contact the correctional facility’s leadership, but they denied his request. But it didn’t obfuscate his faith. On the contrary, his faith is stronger each day.  He has been in prison for more than 14 months now and he continues fighting his case to be allowed to stay in the USA. The only thing he knows for sure, is that, wherever he will be, whether released or deported, he will eventually realize his dream to be baptized. He asked me for a presentation letter to help him find a church after he leaves prison.

 Would the story be repeated? – I heard a very powerful testimony from Pastor Daniel Croce, the chaplain at Plymouth County Correctional Facility. Many years ago he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, causing the death of a police officer. Dan was sentenced and spent many months in prison where, through chaplain-led bible studies, he became a Christian. In his testimony, Dan says he understood from the Bible that he was sinner apart from God. However, he found God’s grace. In prison he wanted to know more and more about the life God wants for him.  After he left prison, he served among many ministries at a local church and went to Seminary. After he graduated, he received a call from the chaplain at the Plymouth facility. The chaplain explained to him that he was about to retire and invited him to apply for the position. So he did it, and since then, he is serving as chaplain of that Correctional Facility. You can read his testimony at: http://www.newhopecm.org/bio.htm

I’m writing about Dan’s testimony because this story can be repeated again. I have heard some of the inmates I serve talking about their desires of serving God when they leave prison. Last week I was talking with one of them who has a three year sentence, still with two years left to serve. His parents are pastors of a Spanish speaking Pentecostal church in the USA and he grew up knowing many biblical stories. I have no idea of the nature of his crime, but I can feel God’s spirit doing a new thing in his life. He is looking for resources that help him learn more about the bible in order to help other inmates. As he learns new things, he tries to teach others. When he leaves, he will look for a seminary to join his parents in ministry.

Always when I can, I try to instill in their hearts and minds the desire to serve God in the way God wants to use them. For some, this will mean full-time ministry. For others,  it will mean leadership positions in local churches, Sunday school teachers, etc. The most important thing is to serve our Lord Jesus Christ who saved us by his grace.

 

Aside

January, 2014

Christmas Feelings – December was an unusual month for me, because I had never experience such a feeling among the inmates. As Christmas Day loomed closer, I could feel the prisoners were increasingly emotional. Many asked God for a miracle to release them to spend the holidays with their families. I wish I could have helped them see their loved ones, but I was powerless. I couldn’t help myself but be emotional as well. When I came back from my Christmas vacation, all of the inmates were still there, except for a Brazilian named Romildo, who was released on December 24th. A miracle happened, at least for him. When I returned, my first group had already arranged the classroom for our study, which I interpreted as a sign they were welcoming me back.

 New Groups – Per PIM’s previous newsletter, I had spoken with Pastor Daniel Croce, the chaplain of the prison in Plymouth. I told him that I’d like to be more useful at the jail. He asked me to start two new bible study groups among the Spanish-speaking inmates: one for those on trial and another for prisoners already sentenced. As such, there has been a change in my schedule starting in January. Instead of Tuesdays, now I’m going to Plymouth every Thursday. Though no one came the first week, the group awaiting trial had 20 men in the following week and 22 in the third. Among the sentenced, the numbers were 11 and 8. Most of them are Puerto Ricans.

Those on trial form an enthusiastic group. Two inmates took action to lead the songs, and one even presented a song he wrote himself. As these groups meet at the chapel, I already informed them that we are going to celebrate the Eucharist once a month starting in February.

Because these new groups are more stable – due to their court status – I started bible studies in series with them. We are going to start with the book of I Samuel, to take advantage of the 30 books on I Samuel we received from a Spanish ministry as a gift. This ministry’s leader was a teacher at the former Leadership Center Training at the Presbyterian Church in Newton, MA. Each one of the inmates will have a book and will have homework to do during the week.

 Donations received since December 2013:

– Glenn & Nancy Ramsey

– First Presbyterian Church, New Haven – CT

– Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston

– Bethel Presbyterian Church – Marlboro, MA

– First Presbyterian Church, Fairfield – CT

– Henry Ruppenthal

– Roland Chase

– Patricia Wales

– Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana Hispana, Boston – MA

– John & Penny Webster

– Valley Presbyterian Church, Brookfield – CT

– First Presbyterian Church, Greenwich – CT

– First Presbyterian Church, Hartford – CT

– Providence Presbyterian Church, Providence – RI

– First Presbyterian Church, Stamford – CT

– Greenwood Community Church, Warwick – RI

– Synod of the Northeast (PCUSA)

– Joan W. Priest

– Linda Sanders

– Charles W. Forman

– Cynthia & Jacob Cykert

– Wayne & Carole Parrish

– IPI do Brasil

 Please send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England – P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry.

 January Attendance

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

08

Boston

18

09

Plymouth

15

10

Bristol

21

15

Boston

Locked down

16

Plymouth

55

17

Bristol

21

22

Boston

Winter Storm

23

Plymouth

44

24

Bristol

20

29

Boston

25

30

Plymouth

43

31

Bristol

23

 New Video – A new video will be presented at this coming Presbytery meeting on February 8, 2014. It’s an 8 minutes video with the testimony of Rodrigo, a Guatemalan man who was in prison for over a year.

 Ukrainian Bible – As was mentioned on our December newsletter, an inmate from Ukraine asked me for a Bible in his own language. First I tried to buy it online, but it was cost-prohibitive. Using a search engine, I found a Catholic Ukrainian Church in the Boston area. The church’s priest, Fr. Yaroslav, mailed me a bible at my request. However, it was a hard cover, which is not allowed in prison. I called him back to ask for a paperback, but he does not have any. He told me, “You can rip it. I’m sure God won’t be mad at us.” So, I did it, but I tried to produce a new cover by myself. This was almost perfect, except for the fact that I glued the new cover upside down. There was no way to fix this. After I gave the Bible to Oleg, it was all worth it when I saw his eyes full of tears and gratitude. Every week he is there, with his Bible, attending the Bible Study.

Kátia’s Report – The good Lord has been wonderful with us every day, being present in all situations of our lives.  I constantly prayed to the good Lord who allows each of the women to recognize the sovereignty of the Lord in their lives.  What has impacted me most is to see the joy in their faces, even incarcerated, being able to find strong reasons to glorify the good Lord.  A few weeks ago one of the women wept continuously during the study, and at the end she shared that she was very sad to be incarcerated and away from her family. But, she was glad that God had been answering her prayers.  She wants so much to know more about God and to go to a Bible study, but she never had time. Somehow despite her protests God provides her the way; she confessed that she never thought it would be this way. For some of us God needs to stretch us beyond our comfort zones, so we can experience more of him even right in the midst of troubles. November and December were difficult in the detention center, as many of the ICE inmates were transferred overnight.  It was really sad, but even then, we could see God working in a wonderful way. We had sisters that were being sent back to their original countries.  There were some that were released and just went back home. The sister that I mentioned before is one of them; God took her there in his own time.

Aside

November, 2013

Image

Advent Season – As I have done since I began serving immigrants in prison in 2005, I’m leading bible studies focusing on the advent season. Some of the prisoners are expecting to be released on time to spend Christmas Day with their respective families. Some of them already know they will be in jail during that time. This is the hardest period of the year for them. Especially for Latinos, Christmas is the most important date on their calendars. It’s a celebration related to their faith and also their families. I can feel their emotions, and more than any other time of the year, the bible study helps them find comfort and consolation.  The endurance of the New Born Jesus in the beginning of His journey on Earth and also His continuing struggles throughout His ministry help them understand how faith can help them face their own struggles as immigrants in prison. I want to ask you to reinforce your prayers in this season, asking God to continue giving them strength as they spend Christmas in jail.

 Good News for 2014 – A few days ago I had lunch with Daniel Croce, the Chaplain of Plymouth County Correctional Facility. I wanted to discuss with him something that came to my mind. I told him I’d like to be more useful in my ministry in prison. Recently, I have done bible studies only on two immigration units, on Tuesdays mornings. Some time ago it used to be three units, but now, as the number of immigrants on Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody is decreasing, there are only two units with immigrants facing deportation process. I explained to Chaplain Croce my desire to extend the bible studies to immigrants who are in jail for other reasons, beyond only immigration issues. He told me they needed someone to do bible studies in Spanish among Hispanics who are waiting for trial and for those who already have been sentenced and are serving their prison term. Chaplain Croce worked on the prison’s programs schedule to allow me to spend one day a week there, every Thursday starting on January 15th, doing bible studies on mornings with ICE prisoners and, with other inmates during afternoons, which will start on January, 2014. These two new groups will meet at the Chapel of that prison. I believe this is a new door being opened to PIM. We are still serving immigrants, but under slightly different circumstances. With the changes we hope will happen to Immigration Law, this will be a new way for PIM to continue to serve immigrants in prison that can be extended to other prisons too. Once I start these new groups, I will be leading 10 bible studies groups a week in 2014.

 VISIT OUR BLOG: www.presbim.com

 November Attendance

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

01

Bristol

23

05

Plymouth

10

06

Boston

32

08

Bristol

19

09

Boston

27

12

Plymouth

09

13

Boston

27

15

Bristol

18

19

Plymouth

12

20

Boston

28

22

Bristol

24

26

Plymouth

10

27

Boston

25

29

Bristol

21

 Donations received:

– Henry Ruppenthal

– Jovelino & Joan Ramos

– Rev. Richard & Mary Swayze

– Bethel Presbyterian Church – Marlboro, MA

– IPI do Brasil

– Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston

– Providence Presbyterian Church, Providence, RI

– Calvary Presbyterian Church – Enfield, CT

– First Presbyterian Church – Newport, RI

– First Presbyterian Church – Stamford, CT

– Rosemarie Smith

 Please send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England – P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry.

 Bibles – I have delivered many Portuguese and Spanish bibles to the inmates. But two consecutive weeks I was asked to bring French and Ukrainian bibles for two men who are not English readers. The French bible was easy to order from Amazon and was already delivered, but the Ukrainian one was too expensive. So I searched on Google, and found a Ukrainian Catholic church in Jamaica Plain, MA. I talked to Father Yaroslav and he donated the bible and already mailed it to me. I’m waiting for this bible to deliver to the inmate.

 I’m ready to go home – Alex is a young man from Guatemala. He has been under ICE custody for a little more than one year. He stayed so long because he decided to fight his case. Few weeks ago he received the court’s final decision and he will be deported to his country. I asked him about his feelings as he is facing this decision, and he told me: “First I became frustrated because it was not what I was waiting for. But then I started to think about what I have learned from the Bible, and now I’m feeling peace, because I know God is on control of my life. I’m ready to go back to my country”. I’ll miss him because during the time he spent in prison he was who used to encourage others to attend the bible studies. As I heard from others last time I was there, he was the one who used to explain the bible to them during the daily meetings they have. Please, let’s pray for him, so he will find a blessed way to re-entry in his country.

 Next Newsletter – Because the coming holidays and the time I’ll be out of my duties, from December 21 to January 03, our next newsletter will be issued in the end of January, 2014. I thank all of you who have supported me with your prayers and donations during 2013, and I hope that, as we will enter in a new year, we will continue this partnership to proclaim the Gospel to those immigrants in prison. I wish to all of you Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year. 

 

Aside

November, 2013

Image

Advent Season – As I have done since I began serving immigrants in prison in 2005, I’m leading bible studies focusing on the advent season. Some of the prisoners are expecting to be released on time to spend Christmas Day with their respective families. Some of them already know they will be in jail during that time. This is the hardest period of the year for them. Especially for Latinos, Christmas is the most important date on their calendars. It’s a celebration related to their faith and also their families. I can feel their emotions, and more than any other time of the year, the bible study helps them find comfort and consolation.  The endurance of the New Born Jesus in the beginning of His journey on Earth and also His continuing struggles throughout His ministry help them understand how faith can help them face their own struggles as immigrants in prison. I want to ask you to reinforce your prayers in this season, asking God to continue giving them strength as they spend Christmas in jail.

 Good News for 2014 – A few days ago I had lunch with Daniel Croce, the Chaplain of Plymouth County Correctional Facility. I wanted to discuss with him something that came to my mind. I told him I’d like to be more useful in my ministry in prison. Recently, I have done bible studies only on two immigration units, on Tuesdays mornings. Some time ago it used to be three units, but now, as the number of immigrants on Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody is decreasing, there are only two units with immigrants facing deportation process. I explained to Chaplain Croce my desire to extend the bible studies to immigrants who are in jail for other reasons, beyond only immigration issues. He told me they needed someone to do bible studies in Spanish among Hispanics who are waiting for trial and for those who already have been sentenced and are serving their prison term. Chaplain Croce worked on the prison’s programs schedule to allow me to spend one day a week there, every Thursday starting on January 15th, doing bible studies on mornings with ICE prisoners and, with other inmates during afternoons, which will start on January, 2014. These two new groups will meet at the Chapel of that prison. I believe this is a new door being opened to PIM. We are still serving immigrants, but under slightly different circumstances. With the changes we hope will happen to Immigration Law, this will be a new way for PIM to continue to serve immigrants in prison that can be extended to other prisons too. Once I start these new groups, I will be leading 10 bible studies groups a week in 2014.

 VISIT OUR BLOG: www.presbim.com

 November Attendance

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

01

Bristol

23

05

Plymouth

10

06

Boston

32

08

Bristol

19

09

Boston

27

12

Plymouth

09

13

Boston

27

15

Bristol

18

19

Plymouth

12

20

Boston

28

22

Bristol

24

26

Plymouth

10

27

Boston

25

29

Bristol

21

 Donations received:

– Henry Ruppenthal

– Jovelino & Joan Ramos

– Rev. Richard & Mary Swayze

– Bethel Presbyterian Church – Marlboro, MA

– IPI do Brasil

– Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston

– Providence Presbyterian Church, Providence, RI

– Calvary Presbyterian Church – Enfield, CT

– First Presbyterian Church – Newport, RI

– First Presbyterian Church – Stamford, CT

– Rosemarie Smith

 Please send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England – P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry.

 Bibles – I have delivered many Portuguese and Spanish bibles to the inmates. But two consecutive weeks I was asked to bring French and Ukrainian bibles for two men who are not English readers. The French bible was easy to order from Amazon and was already delivered, but the Ukrainian one was too expensive. So I searched on Google, and found a Ukrainian Catholic church in Jamaica Plain, MA. I talked to Father Yaroslav and he donated the bible and already mailed it to me. I’m waiting for this bible to deliver to the inmate.

 I’m ready to go home – Alex is a young man from Guatemala. He has been under ICE custody for a little more than one year. He stayed so long because he decided to fight his case. Few weeks ago he received the court’s final decision and he will be deported to his country. I asked him about his feelings as he is facing this decision, and he told me: “First I became frustrated because it was not what I was waiting for. But then I started to think about what I have learned from the Bible, and now I’m feeling peace, because I know God is on control of my life. I’m ready to go back to my country”. I’ll miss him because during the time he spent in prison he was who used to encourage others to attend the bible studies. As I heard from others last time I was there, he was the one who used to explain the bible to them during the daily meetings they have. Please, let’s pray for him, so he will find a blessed way to re-entry in his country.

 Next Newsletter – Because the coming holidays and the time I’ll be out of my duties, from December 21 to January 03, our next newsletter will be issued in the end of January, 2014. I thank all of you who have supported me with your prayers and donations during 2013, and I hope that, as we will enter in a new year, we will continue this partnership to proclaim the Gospel to those immigrants in prison. I wish to all of you Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year.